Guide to the typical cost of living expenses in Tbilisi, including some example budgets.
Thinking of relocating or visiting? This guide summarizes the cost of living in Tbilisi, Georgia, which you can expect while here. The good news is, it’s a very affordable city!
With studio apartments starting from less than $200 per month, taxi rides costing $1 to $3 per trip within central Tbilisi, and food & drink all very reasonably priced, a budget of $500 to $1,200 USD per person per month is sufficient for most to enjoy an expat lifestyle in Tbilisi.
Looking at the cost of living index, out of 100, here are some broad comparisons:
- New York = 100
- London = 82
- Atlanta (Georgia, USA) = 77
- Bangkok = 54
- Prague = 49
- Tbilisi, Georgia = 29
- Delhi, India = 27
The cost of living in Tbilisi Georgia, on average, is closer to what you’d pay in India than what you’d pay in most places in Europe or North America. But Georgia, while still developing, is leagues ahead in terms of modernity, safety and infrastructure compared to India, and indeed most other places with similar low cost of living.
How much money do I need to live in Tbilisi comfortably?
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is by far the most popular location for long term expats. It’s also the most expensive place in Georgia to live. So the Tbilisi cost of living is a useful guideline even if you will choose to live in Batumi (along the Black Sea coast) or elsewhere. The below figures are estimates and the costs you might incur will very much depend on your lifestyle choices.
Depending on how many luxuries you want, an estimate of $1,500 USD per couple per month is sufficient for comfortable living. Stretch that to $2,000+ per couple per month, and you’d live very well and have a nicer apartment or house than most locals, or even many expats.
Reducing to $1,000 USD per couple per month would mean cutting back on luxury items and lifestyle, but is a budget that many expats do live on successfully. With average local wages in Tbilisi sitting around the $400 USD mark, many locals live on a budget significantly below these above estimates (although many locals will not have rent to pay, as property is typically owned within the family in Georgia).
While cost of living is ultimately subjective and dependent on one’s personal preferences and habits, here’s a simplified case study with typical expenses as an example:
Tbilisi Cost Of Living: 2 people, sharing a 2-bedroom apartment
$1 USD = ~3 GEL. Estimates in USD for convenience. Totals for two people combined:
- Rent: $500 per month (2-bedroom modern apartment, 75sqm, furnished, in a decent area of town)
- Utilities: $50 (Water, Gas, Electric, Garbage)
- Fiber Internet & 4G network: $20 (Home internet 20MB + 2 sim cards for 4G)
- Transport: $60 (~40 taxi rides per month)
- Food Shopping: $250
- Eating Out: $300 (Dinner out twice per week, as well as some light lunches)
- Medical insurance: $50
- Cleaner: $80 (once per week, 4 times per month total)
- Entertainment: $150
- Other: $100
= $1,500 USD for two people. A comfortable, mid-level budget.
Additionally: Clothing, imported goods (from Amazon, etc.), gym and/or coworking membership and any other monthly expenditures like Netflix, etc.
Add in a higher-end apartment ($1,000 per month), and you could be scratching $2.5k a month for 2 people. It’s still amazing bang for your buck as you’d be living very well off that budget.
If on a lower budget, you could spend less by:
- Having a smaller apartment (1 bedroom or studio – $300 per month or less)
- Not eating out very often (twice per month, $60)
- Cleaning your own apartment ($0)
- Entertaining yourself with free activities ($0)
- Taking public transport only ($10 per month)
- Shopping: Only eating local produce and no expensive imported food ($120 per month)
This would get your monthly budget to below $1,000 USD per couple.
Detailed Tbilisi Cost Of Living Information
Some more details on what you get for your money in Georgia.
Accommodation – Rental
A well-furnished, modern apartment (65sqm) with 1 bedroom in one of the best locations in the capital (i.e., Vake or Old Town) might cost you $400 to $700 per month in rent. In a less desirable neighbourhood, such as Saburtalo or Marjanishvili, maybe $250 to $500. And even less than that if living in one of the outer suburbs. (More detailed information about the various Tbilisi neighborhoods can be found here.)
For a luxury apartment with a much larger floor area (130sqm), 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, a large balcony with a view, and potentially a garage, you might pay around $1,000 per month, even in the nicer suburbs.
For a budget studio in a less desirable area, prices can be under $200.
Utilities are incredibly cheap. Garbage removal is about $1 per month – seriously! Water, $2 to $3. If you run a lot of air conditioning and have a big apartment, you could hit $60+ a month for electric. But that balances out in spring and autumn where your electric bill may drop to $10 a month. Gas is going to set you back $5 to $10 per month during summer, and probably around $35 a month in the winter, with the heating on a few hours each day.
A total utility bill above $100 per month would require a huge apartment and a lot of usage!
Fibre Internet & 4G network
3 GB of data and some minutes / SMS texts per month works out at about $5 per month, depending on usage. If you want unlimited calls, it’s about $9 a month. Magti is our preferred provider for reliability. Beeline is ok in urban areas and is a bit cheaper.
$10 per month for the basic 20MB fiber optic internet package at home is sufficient for most people. But even the 100MB package only comes in at about $35 per month.
Food & Drink
If you are used to a European diet, then familiar products like bread (30c per bread), apples, milk ($1 per litre), local cheese ($5 per kilo), bell peppers (50c per kilo), eggplant, carrots (25c per kilo), potatoes, etc. are all available at very low prices.
In winter, when much fresh produce is imported from Turkey, some prices more than double, but it’s still cheap compared to USA / Western Europe. Dairy and meat products remain consistently priced.
Example prices for beverages:
- Beer (0.5 litre) (domestic larger, $0.5-$1 or less; local craft beer, $1.50-$3; imported, $1.50-$3).
- Wine per bottle (domestic, $2.50 and up. Really good wines from $8).
- Spirits in Georgia are all very reasonably priced, especially if you drink local chacha or vodka.
- Flavored homemade lemonade is very popular, as is Borjomi sparkling water.
Imported foods are relatively expensive.
Supply in Georgia for some products is a little inconsistent. However, things like imported deli meats, bacon, cheddar cheese, brie, Tabasco, BBQ sauce, and many other expat favourites are priced just a little higher than in a regular supermarket in the USA or the UK. So, they are relatively expensive compared to domestic products, but not outrageously overpriced.
Transport / Getting Around
Basic taxi prices in Tbilisi start from about a dollar to sit down, and you’ll rarely spend more than $3 per trip, unless you go way out of town. Taxis are proper cars (Toyota Prius, Camry, and some older Mercedes sedans are typical).
Taxis for intercity travel are also a good option. Batumi to Tbilisi in a private vehicle (6 to 7 hours) costs around $100 USD one way.
The Tbilisi metro system is basic, old, and with a limited network of 2 lines, but very cheap ($0.20 for any distance).
Tbilisi has some modern buses now and is updating their system. But there are still plenty of old yellow minibuses (or “marshrutkas”, as they’re known) too. Your $0.20 fare lets you ride the metro and connect with buses for 90 minutes per trip before being charged again.
Buses connect almost everywhere in the city, but the price of taxis make it unlikely that most foreigners will want to use noisy and crowded public transport when they can go door to door directly for a couple of dollars.
Check out our other article featuring a detailed review of the public transportation system in Georgia.
Tbilisi Cost of Living: Restaurants & Nightlife
Restaurants, like most everything else in Tbilisi, are very affordable.
At a budget sit-down restaurant, you can easily get a large meal and a drink or two for $5 to $10 per person. (It depends whether you want lots of meat dishes, or are happy with carbs.)
A mid-price restaurant for a nice night out might work out at $20 per person, including a 1/2 litre of wine each and plenty of premium dishes.
If you want to head to the fanciest places in town, as long as you don’t buy imported fine wines, it’s almost impossible to spend more than $70 per person for high-end dining with excellent local wines.
For drinking in bars, a beer on a nice roof terrace may cost you $4, and a decent bottle of wine, $25. A large beer at a cheap local bar may cost as little as $1, and a liter of house wine in the same place, as little as $2.50.
Local medical insurance, which is sufficient for most basic medical needs, starts from less than $5 per month, though most expats would choose a more premium package (in the vicinity of $20 to $30 per month). If you want to maintain full expat health insurance with an international provider, $100+ a month is more likely.
A typical salary for a part-time cleaner is $15 to $40 for a full day (up to 8 hours). You’ll find the rates to be similar for a nanny and other domestic staff.
If you employ someone full time, you’ll pay between $200 to $400 USD per month as a typical wage. A lot will, of course, depend on the type of work, the number of hours, their experience level, and whether or not they speak English.
Get Our Full Tbilisi Expat Guide
The above Tbilisi Cost Of Living guide is an excerpt from our new, free e-book which covers the essentials of living in, or relocating to, Georgia. Our 100 page guide includes:
- Accommodation and where to live in Georgia & Tbilisi
- Visas & residency
- Business, banking, & tax
- Everyday life: from social life to transport, internet, restaurants, and much more.
Download your free copy of our ebook: